I play Anna May Wong in ‘Hollywood.’ Her invisibility as an Asian American actress mirrors my own.

Michelle Krusiec The Lilly Netflix Hollywood Anna May Wong
Michelle Krusiec The Lilly Netflix Hollywood Anna May Wong

As an actor, I have spent most of my life attempting to prove that I am “enough.” Because of my ethnic origin — I am Taiwanese American — that means also trying to prove, consciously or not, that I am “American enough.” My life has been shaped by the idea that my value in America is based on someone else’s perception of me — and by how well I fit into the dominant white culture.

Somehow, in becoming an employable and versatile actor, I had lost my own self-defined identity; part of me had become invisible.

When I was cast as Anna May Wong in the Netflix series “Hollywood,” little did I know I would be portraying my invisibility on-screen. The true story, also told in the series, goes like this: Wong, born in Los Angeles in 1905, was an Asian American actress who spent her entire career trying to prove her worth to Hollywood. She did so by playing the largely stereotypical roles she was offered, but in the end, it still wasn’t enough.

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